Credit: Kayla Stuart | Mustang News

Cal Poly volleyball suffered a 3-0 sweep against the UC Irvine Anteaters on Saturday, Oct. 23 inside Mott Athletics Center. 

After losing the first set 25-18, the Mustangs (9-12, 7-3) narrowly fell in the following sets 25-22 and 32-30. 

“I think this game is a big eye-opener because it shows that we need to come out in the first set ready to go,” freshman outside hitter Tommi Stockham said.

In the first set, the Anteaters (13-7, 6-4) jumped out to an early 8-5 lead, which forced Cal Poly to use one of their timeouts. However, the timeout didn’t help much as UC Irvine saw their biggest lead of the day when they secured an 18-11 lead. Then, the Mustangs cut back into their lead late in the set at 22-18. However, the Anteaters prevailed and scored three straight points to take a 1-0 advantage in the match. 

“I think the first set we came out extremely slow and even in the second set we came out slow but we got a little bit of momentum,” Stockham said. 

The Anteaters continued their momentum in the second set as they opened the set on a 4-0 run. UC Irvine pushed their lead to 11-5, which led to Cal Poly head coach Caroline Walters using another timeout. This one proved to be successful, as Stockham recorded three straight kills and the Mustangs scored five straight points to cut the lead to 11-10. After tying the match at 14-14, the Mustangs failed to take the lead in the set as the Anteaters won the set 25-22 to take a 2-0 advantage. 

The third set went back-and-forth as the Mustangs took a late 24-22 lead. However, the Anteaters scored three straight points to take a 25-24 lead. The Mustangs had five separate opportunities to take the set in a win-by-two format, but the Anteaters scored three straight points to take the set 32-30 and the match 3-0. 

Stockham recorded a team-high 16 kills and added six digs, while freshman outside hitter Amy Hiatt had a career-high 14 kills. 

“Stockholm and Hiatt are two freshmen for us who are going to be great for the next four years,” Walters said. “I think they are hearing the message we are sending to our attackers to stay aggressive.”

The Anteaters had the advantage in nearly every statistical category, as UC Irvine collected more total kills than the Mustangs 54-41 while outhitting the Mustangs .345 to .157. 

“It seemed like at times we could not stop any of their attackers at the net,” Walters said.

The Mustangs will look to bounce back next week when they host Cal State Fullerton on Friday, Oct. 29 at 7 p.m inside Mott Athletics Center.

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